Grain shipments from Ukraine’s port of Odesa resumed Monday.
The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni was the first to leave port, carrying corn bound for Lebanon. In a statement, Turkey’s defense ministry said other unspecified ships would also depart Ukraine.
Turkey and the United Nations brokered an agreement with Russia and Ukraine in late July to get grain exports going again amid a global food crisis that the U.N. says has been worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The deal calls for safe passage of cargo ships traveling from ports in southern Ukraine through waters in the Black Sea that Russia has controlled since starting the war in late February.
Also Monday, Britain’s defense ministry said Russian forces had made only slow progress during the previous four days as they tried tactical assaults in the area northeast of Donetsk.
The British ministry said Russia is also likely shifting “a significant number of its forces” from the northern part of the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine to southern Ukraine.
For several months, Russia has focused its efforts on the Donbas, which includes Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, after facing resistance on its approach to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. A reallocation of resources to the east helped Russia claim control of Luhansk in early July.
In southern Ukraine, a small explosive device carried by a makeshift drone hit the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet on the Crimean Peninsula on Sunday, wounding six people, local authorities said, while Ukraine said a Russian missile attack killed one of its richest people, a grain merchant.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the drone attack in the port city of Sevastopol, which forced cancellation of ceremonies for Russia’s Navy Day holiday. But the seemingly improvised, small-scale nature of the attack raised the possibility it was the work of Ukrainian insurgents in the territory seized by Russia in 2014, The Associated Press reported.
The drone appeared to be homemade and the explosive device low powered, the Black Sea Fleet’s press service said. Sevastopol is about 170 kilometers from the Ukrainian mainland, but it is unclear where the drone began its flight.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, the mayor of the major port city of Mykolaiv, Vitaliy Kim, said a Russian attack killed one of Ukraine’s wealthiest men, Oleksiy Vadatursky, and his wife, Raisa. Vadatursky headed a grain production and export business.
An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Mykhailo Podolyak, said Vadatursky was specifically targeted.
It “was not an accident, but a well-thought-out and organized premeditated murder,” Podolyak said. “Vadatursky was one of the largest farmers in the country, a key person in the region and a major employer. That the exact hit of a rocket was not just in a house, but in a specific wing, the bedroom, leaves no doubt about aiming and adjusting the strike.”
Vadatursky’s agribusiness, Nibulon, includes a fleet of ships for sending grain abroad.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.